It all began as a simple idea of starting a small scale vegetable garden on a small piece of land on Acacia Cresent in the suburbs of Victoria Falls. Dave Cooper, a retired accountant wanted to venture into the unchartered territory and pursue a new passion. What ensued was a vision to provide fresh vegetables for the local market.
The building process which began in July last year was laborious. Putting the project together was an arduous task, considering the equipment such as the green house materials and hydroponics equipment, which needed to be mobilised in order to get the scheme going. By January 2016, the first seeds were planted.
Two methods for growing vegetables are used; traditional soil beds and a subset of hydroculture called hydroponics, which is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Hydroponics relies on fertilized and aerated water which provides both nutrition and oxygen to a plant’s root zone. He utilises the Ebb and flow method whereby the hydroponic solution alternately floods the system and is allowed to ebb away. Although some of his plants are grown with their roots in the mineral solution only, others are grown in an inert medium, such as perlite or gravel.
Since its inception, Dave’s project has taken off. The lucid verdure that enshrouds his plot chronicles the success of both methods.
Dave grows tomatoes, cucumbers, asparagus, lettuce, peppers, pakchoi, cabbage, onions, carrots and a variety of herbs and micro herbs. These are just some of the vegetables on offer. From the produce, Dave also makes jams, pickles, and a variety of sauces, chutney and spicy foods.
A nursery which is still budding has been added to the mix. It includes shrubs, flowers, indigenous plants and trees and a full array of succulents. As such the project has not only become a one stop shop for vegetables, but also for all gardening requirements.
“I consider myself a trainee gardener. I learn something new every day as my vision continues to unfold” said Dave.
The project now supplies hotels, lodges, supermarkets and individuals with fresh vegetables. Individuals are also free to roam the vegetable haven to select the greens of their choice. This facility offers a great opportunity for chefs, mums and health conscious individuals to pick out fresh yield at its source.
Dave is optimistic about the future of his mega garden and is riding on the success he has enjoyed thus far. He hopes to increase his product offering while continuing to provide fresh quality goods.